Developmental Milestones Of The Early Years Child

WHAT ARE DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES?

These are skills, abilities and activities that the average child of a given age group is observed to be physically and mentally capable of. In the early years learner of 1 year 6 months up to 5 years 6 months, children acquire milestones in their movements, speech, play, social behaviour, self-care, and much more. Consistent exposure to the prepared early years environment at school, with play-and-learn sensorial experiences, accelerates positive development in all spheres.

PLAYGROUP (1 year 6 months to 2 years 6 months)

The usual milestones for children at the end of age 2 are as follows:

GROSS MOTOR SKILLS

  • Jump in place and over small objects.
  • Can walk up and down the stairs with support.
  • Can throw a small ball overhand.
  • Kick a ball with either foot.

FINE MOTOR SKILLS

  • Build a tower of three small blocks.
  • Pick up small objects with thumb and one finger.
  • Bring a spoon to mouth.
  • Hold and drink from a cup independently.
  • Put shapes into a shape sorter without assistance.
  • Paint using whole arm movements to make strokes.

COGNITIVE MILESTONES

  • Can find hidden objects even from under 2-3 layers.
  • Begin to distinguish between shapes and colours, and can sort them from one another.
  • Can complete sentences and rhymes from familiar books.
  • Can build towers of four or more blocks.
  • Might use one hand more than the other.
  • Can follow two-step instructions such as “Pick up your toys and put them in the closet.”
  • Can name items in a picture book such as a cat, bird, or dog.

SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL MILESTONES

  • Imitate behaviour of others, especially adults and older children.
  • Get excited being with other children.
  • Show increased independence and even defiance.
  • Increasingly aware of themselves as separate from others.

LANGUAGE/COMMUNICATION MILESTONES

  • Point to things or pictures when named.
  • Know the names of familiar people and body parts.
  • Can say sentences with 2–4 words.
  • Can follow simple instructions.
  • Repeat words overheard in conversation.

PRE-KG (2 years 6 months to 3 years 6 months)

The typical milestones of children at the end of age 3 years include:

GROSS MOTOR SKILLS

  • Run and walk without tripping over their feet.
  • Jump, hop, and stand on one foot.
  • Walk backwards and climb stairs one foot after the other.
  • Kick and throw a small ball.
  • Catch a big ball (most of the time).
  • Climb
  • Start pedaling a tricycle or bike.

FINE MOTOR SKILLS

  • Draw a circle with a crayon, pencil, or marker.
  • Play with toys that have small moving parts and/or buttons.
  • Turn the pages of a book one at a time.
  • Start to construct using six or more blocks.
  • Work door handles and open twist-on bottle tops.
  • String items together, like large beads or macaroni.

COGNITIVE MILESTONES

  • Name the eight primary colours.
  • Recite numbers to 10 and start counting groups of things.
  • Start understanding time in terms of morning, night, and days of the week.
  • Remember and retell favourite stories.
  • Understand and talk about things that are “the same” and “different”.
  • Follow simple three-step directions (“Brush your teeth, wash your face, and put on your pajamas.”)
  • Draw a circle, when shown how.
  • Avoid touching hot objects, like a stove, when warned not to.

SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL MILESTONES

  • Be interested—although hesitant—about going to new places and trying new things.
  • Start to play with other kids (as opposed to only playing side-by-side).
  • Start being able to comfort and show concern for an unhappy friend without prompting.
  • Take turns while playing (even if they don’t like to!)
  • Play “real life” with toys like kitchen sets.
  • Start finding simple ways to solve arguments and disagreements.
  • Show (but maybe not name) a variety of emotions beyond happy, sad and upset.

LANGUAGE/COMMUNICATION MILESTONES

  • Talk in conversation using at least two back-and-forth exchanges.
  • Can name things in a book when pointed to and asked.
  • Say what action is happening in a picture, like running.
  • Ask who, what, where, or why questions.
  • Say their first name when asked.
  • Are understood by others most of the time.

KG 1 (3 years 6 months to 4 years 6 months)

For KG 1, the typical milestones of children at the end of age 4 years are:

GROSS MOTOR SKILLS

  • Use alternate feet on the stairs.
  • Jump with two feet.
  • Use door handles.
  • Control big muscle movements more easily. They may be able to start, stop, turn, and go around obstacles while running.
  • Throw and bounce a ball.
  • Jump over objects and climb playground ladders.
  • Pedal and steer a tricycle or bike.

FINE MOTOR SKILLS

  • Get dressed with minimal help (zippers, snaps and buttons.)
  • Draw or copy basic shapes and crosses (this is a milestone known as “being able to cross the midline.”)
  • Write some letters or make separate and distinct marks that look like letters.
  • Put together a simple puzzle.
  • Begin to use scissors purposefully.
  • Stack a tower at least 10 blocks high.
  • String beads.
  • Pinch and shape clay or play-dough into recognizable objects.

COGNITIVE MILESTONES

  • Start sorting things by attributes like size, shape, and colour.
  • Compare and contrast by things like height, size, or gender.
  • Begin to understand the difference between real and make-believe.
  • Understand that pictures and symbols stand for real things.
  • Recognize shapes in the real world.
  • Count to at least 20 and also count items in a group.
  • Explore relationships between ideas.
  • Start thinking in logical steps, which means understanding how something happens and its results.
  • Get abstract ideas like “bigger,” “less,” “later,” “ago,” and “soon.”
  • Put things in order, like from biggest to smallest, shortest to tallest.
  • Stick with an activity for 10 to 15 minutes straight.

SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL MILESTONES

  • Start to show and express a wider range of emotion.
  • Share, cooperate, be helpful and take turns.
  • Enjoy telling silly jokes and find other things funny.
  • Begin telling small lies to get out of trouble, even though they know it’s wrong.
  • Have imaginary friends and play the same imaginary games over and over.
  • Start playing with other kids and separate from parents and caregivers more easily.

LANGUAGE/COMMUNICATION MILESTONES

  • Say sentences with four or more words.
  • Say some words from a song, story, or nursery rhyme. 
  • Talk about at least one thing that happened during their day, like “I played in the sandpit.”
  • Answer simple questions like “What is a pencil for?”
  • Say the sounds at the beginning, middle, and end of words.

KG 2 (4 years 6 months to 5 years 6 months)

During KG 2, at the end of age 5 years, children typically show the following milestones:

GROSS MOTOR SKILLS

  • Walk on their tiptoes and heel-to-toe like on a balance beam.
  • Jump rope and pump their legs to swing alone.
  • Stand and hop on each foot.
  • Catch a ball the size of a softball.
  • Start to move in more coordinated ways, doing things like swimming, dribbling a basketball or dancing.

FINE MOTOR SKILLS

  • Use one hand more than the other (this is sometimes called “hand dominance.”)
  • Hold a pencil using a tripod grip (two fingers and a thumb.)
  • Cut out basic shapes with scissors.
  • Use a spoon easily.

COGNITIVE MILESTONES

  • Recognize and name different colours and basic shapes.
  • Know the letters of the alphabet and their sounds.
  • Recite their name, address and phone number.
  • Understand basic concepts about print (like knowing which way the pages go and that words are read left to right and top to bottom.)
  • Know that stories have a beginning, middle and an end.
  • Count groups of objects up to 10 and recite numbers to 20.
  • Stick with an activity for 15 minutes and finish a short project.
  • Make plans about how to play, what to build or what to draw.
  • Explore make-believe play; these help children to manage thoughts, actions, and emotions.

SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL MILESTONES

  • Enjoy expressing their talents; they’ll sing, dance, or be silly to get attention.
  • Want approval and to be taken seriously for almost everything.
  • Start to understand why it’s helpful to share and get along with other kids.
  • Follow basic manners and rules. Also, help other kids follow the same.

LANGUAGE/COMMUNICATION MILESTONES

  • Tell a story they heard or made up with at least two events.
  • Answer simple questions about a book or story after it was read or told.
  • Keep a conversation going with more than three back-and-forth exchanges.
  • Use or recognize simple rhymes (bat-cat, ball-tall)

The above is a short and generalized representation of the usual expected milestones. There are many more in the study of the early years child, with some overlaps between ages. Every child is unique, and the absence of one particular milestone is not a cause for immediate concern. Sometimes, children need a little more time than usual to achieve typical developmental milestones.

Sources:

theindianpublicschool.orgkidshealth.orgcdc.govunicef.orgchilddevelopment.com.au

  • Blog By
    Sumita Sen Mazumdar
    Principal – Erode KG Campus
    The Indian Public School – Erode.
    May,23 2024 | In Blog
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